Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Warning: It’s an F for Flash security

Folks, if you haven’t done so already, you need to act now to protect yourself.

* Block or update Adobe Flash
flash_logo Apple notoriously hates it. Firefox is currently blocking it, and Facebook is calling for its demise. Three zero-day vulnerabilities have been exposed in Adobe Flash in the past week, and the company has been speedily patching its vulnerable app. You should either update it right away or shut it down. Find out how to block Flash in Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and IE, and how to keep watching your YouTube videos without it.Read more..

My two cents: Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash have – for as long as I can remember – consistently topped the Most Vulnerable and Most Exploited lists. They’re *crud*. And Adobe should be taken to task. Remove them if you can.

*     *     *

Today’s quote:I have a low tolerance for people who complain about things but never do anything to change them. This led me to conclude that the single largest pool of untapped natural resources in this world is human good intentions that are never translated into actions.” ~ Cindy Gallop

Copyright 2007-2015 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

July 16, 2015 Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime, hackers, Internet, security, software | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flash Cookies Devouring Your Privacy

“..Flash cookies may be making an end run around your attempts to preserve your privacy…”

In a world run by advertising revenue.. the online marketers (hello, Google) are determined to “profile” you, track your online habits, and serve you “targeted” ads.

So, we “consumers” (and yes, that’s how us “average computer users” are viewed) have had to become adept at blocking “cookies”, installing Ad Block programs, and adjusting our “Privacy settings”.

Fact is, we’ve become pretty good at it. So the advertisers had to develop, better, harder to prevent methods at tracking us, and getting their ads to pop open so we can see them (and ignore them).
(Are you thinking of advertising on the Internet? Paying for ads? Good luck with that..).

One such method they’ve developed is the “Flash cookie” (or, “LSO”) which actually uses Adobe’s Flash Player as a conduit.
If you have ever watched a “video” on YouTube, you know what Flash Player is.

If you are at all concerned about your privacy, or simply want to prevent the Big Brother aspect of the Internet, I suggest you read Are Flash Cookies Devouring Your Privacy?

Even if you delete normal tracking cookies regularly to evade tracking by snooping sites and eager advertisers, little-known Flash cookies may be making an end run around your attempts to preserve your privacy.” Read more..

Here you will learn about the Flash Player “control panel“, and the settings you need to adjust to gain back some of your privacy.

looks like loads of fun, doesn’t it? Well, that’s why most of us don’t bother, and the concept of privacy is becoming obsolete.. and when you really think about our “tech”, you might think Orwell’s 1984 was tame by comparison.

So, if you don’t use Firefox, and have the BetterPrivacy add-on (I also reco TACO) you will want to read the article, click the link, and tweak a setting or two.
If you think your right-to-privacy is more important than advertisers getting their way, that is.

Today’s quote:Looking at the proliferation of personal web pages on the Net, it looks like very soon everyone on Earth will have 15 megabytes of fame.” ~ M.G. Sriram

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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January 4, 2012 Posted by | advice, Firefox, Internet, privacy | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Troubleshooting Thumbdrives*

Functional Flash Drive Doesn’t Work At The Office

A reader e-mailed me a question I believe will be of interest to other readers of this series. He wants to use a thumb drive to transfer files between his computer at his work and his home computer, but the work computer will not recognize the thumb drive. He wanted advice on how to fix this.

Q: My thumb drive works great at home, but when I took it into work to try and copy some files so I could work at home, I plug it in and the little window never opens so I cannot use it. What am I doing wrong?
A: There are several possible reasons for this, and here’s a few things to try:
* One may be that Windows is “recognizing” the device, but isn’t displaying the little “Found new hardware” balloon for some reason (such as a Service isn’t running). Open My Computer, Start >My Computer, (just “Computer” in Vista) and look for the drive there. If it’s there, great, just double-click it, but if it’s not…

* Try plugging the drive into a different USB port. It is possible that the one you tried has “gone bad”. (It helps if you use an open port on the machine, and not use a hub.) If that isn’t it…

* Ask your company’s IT department if USB volumes have been disabled. Many companies are turning off USB access to iPods/Media Players and thumb drives (storage devices) in an effort to prevent “data leakage”.. which is a fancy way of saying, preventing the employees from walking out the door with the Company Secrets. If this is indeed the case, you can ask that an exception be made in your case. If your request is granted, they will re-”enable” USB storage devices on your machine.
But if that isn’t it…

* It is possible that the drive letter your thumb drive is pre-disposed to being assigned (say, “E:” or “F:”), is being used by another device or “share” on the company network, and so it isn’t being seen as a volume (aka “drive”).. you’ll have a volume, but without a drive letter, Windows won’t “see” it and you can’t use it.
1) Right-click on My Computer and select “Manage” from the context menu.
2) click the “+” sign next to “Storage” to expand the tree, and then click on “Disk Management”.
You will now see all the volumes on your computer..

This screenshot  shows that I have two volumes/drives, and that they both have been assigned drive letters [(C:) and (D:)] — this means they’re “recognized” and fully functional. What we’re looking for in our thumb drive issue is a volume that does not have a letter.

3) If you see one (that will be the troublesome thumb drive), right-click on it and select “Change Drive Letter and Paths…” from the context menu. A small window will open.
4) click on the “Add” button, and another small window will open. Use the drop-down arrow next to “Assign the following drive letter” and choose one of the letters (those shown will be “available” letters on the company network). It really doesn’t matter which letter you choose. Then click “OK”, and “OK” again.

You should now be back in business, and you can use the thumb drive as you’re used to. Open My Computer again and you’ll see the thumb drive and double-clicking it will open it up.

* If these steps fail to allow Windows to see the USB thumb drive, submit a trouble ticket to your company’s IT department.

Today’s free download: Once upon a time, the visionaries of IT thought that the answer to creating a “paperless society”, and getting all the disparate machine types talking to each other, was the PDF (portable document format). The PDF was to be create-able by anyone and readable by anyone, but Adobe didn’t see much profit in that… If you find that you need to create a PDF, but don’t have Acrobat or Word 2007, you can do so by downloading PrimoPDF, which can convert over 300 formats into .pdf’s.

Orig post: 4/7/08

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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September 26, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, gadgets, hardware, how to, Microsoft, PC, Plug and Play, Portable Computing, tech, thumb drives, troubleshooting, Windows | , , , | 3 Comments

Latest Flash Version Breaks Things

No, you aren’t seeing things, and no, it’s (probably) not a new infection on your machine.
Adobe’s recent Flash Player update has caused a lot of trouble (particularly to Firefox users)  by failing to work with several web sites that rely heavily on Flash.

You may find it easiest to use IE until Adobe and Webmasters get the glitch squared away.

November 14, 2008 Posted by | browsers, computers, Firefox, IE 7, Internet, News, performance, software, tech, troubleshooting | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Apple releases 41 patches for Leopard, Flash

Keeping your software patched and up-to-date is a vital part of safe(r) computing these days. I cannot recommend enthusiastically enough that you enable “automatic” updating wherever and whenever it is offered.
A “patch” (aka “update”) closes ‘holes’ (aka “vulnerabilities”) that hackers are “exploiting” to take control of, or plant malware on, (your) machines.

There is an active exploit out there for the Flash player (Those animations on Webpages) that affects anyone who has not disabled Flash– whether you’re running Windows, Mac, or Linux.
If you like having Flash animations, you should visit this page on the Adobe Website which will analyze your version of Flash Player to see if you need to update.

Mac users should visit Apple Update and get these important updates.

Today’s free link: A repeat today, because you really should know about this free tool: the Secunia Software Inspector will scan your machine’s installed programs and determine if they’re out-of-date, or there’s patches missing– and it will help you resolve the problems it finds.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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May 29, 2008 Posted by | advice, Apple, computers, how to, PC, security, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment